CampusOut Summit Builds Connections among LGBTQIA+ Community
On Saturday, April 8, the Women and Gender Studies Program at St. John Fisher College hosted the CampusOut Summit, a gathering of students from nine Rochester area college LGBTQIA+ clubs and their advisors.
CampusOut was organized by Dr. Lisa J. Cunningham to provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to network with one another, discuss campus activism around intersectional queer issues, and discuss ways to engage with the Gay Alliance and greater Rochester LGBTQIA+ community.
“It enabled cross-campus coalition building in a supportive and constructive environment,” said Cunningham, a visiting assistant professor and co-chair of the Women and Gender Studies Program.
Speakers present from the Gay Alliance included Executive Director, Scott Fearing; Chair of the Board of Directors, Colleen Raimond; and Education Coordinator, Rowan Collins. Film director Shai Ben-Dor also attended along with Tim Buchanan, the subject of his documentary The Long Trail Out.
Emily Witz, a junior majoring in English with a minor in women and gender studies, said the Summit helped students build bridges and connections within a community that often is stigmatized or discriminated against.
“It felt freeing to be in a room filled with like-minded people who you knew would not judge you based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” she explained. “Hearing the struggles, successes, and desires other pride groups had was healing in a way. It makes you realize that you're not alone in feeling what you're feeling and thinking what you're thinking.”